Foreshock Excerpt

 

 

August 23, 2011

“I just want ice for my fucking drink, Kyle,” Eric shouted across the dining room table, which was now cluttered with tools and odd stretches of tubing. He slammed his lemonade—no ice—on the only free spot. “I don’t expect you to fix this. You’re not a plumber. Neither am—”

“I can do it.” Kyle glared at him, green eyes narrowed and mean. His hands fisted on his hips, long hard body rigid with anger. Kyle’s dirty blond hair stuck up at odd angles from one temple, and a smudge of God only knew what marred a cheek already shadowed with stubble. A layer of sawdust coated him along with the sweat.

He was every gay man’s wet dream in a tool belt.

And he couldn’t change a light bulb without injuring himself.

Eric bit back his temper and blew out a calming breath. “When you rotated my tires, one of the wheels almost fell off.”

Kyle’s mouth thinned. “I told you. The lug nuts were stripped.”

Yeah. Kyle, the stubborn ass, had stripped them. “The exterior light—”

“I would’ve remembered to shut the power off eventua—”

“You were digging around in the wiring, Kyle! Jesus fucking Christ.” Eric speared his fingers through his hair, ordering himself not to pull—do not pull—because thirty-eight was too young for male pattern baldness and he’d torn too much of his hair out since Kyle had moved in as it was. Since there was little Kyle Armentrout, trail guide and fearless master of home repair, loved more than digging his fingers into Eric’s hair when they fucked, the DIY failures had to stop. Now. “I don’t want you to fix the icemaker. I don’t need you to fix it. If I call the store—”

“They’ll charge us an arm and a leg. Besides, I’ve almost got the job done.” Kyle stabbed a grubby finger at the gaping cabinet doors under the sink. “See? I drilled all the holes. Only thing left is tapping the line and checking for leaks.”

Eric winced.

Leaks.

“If you create Lake Kyle in our kitchen, Mrs. Winifred will fry our asses. You understand that, right?”

Kyle shifted on his feet.

“We’ll be evicted.”

Kyle scowled. “Your landlord’s a bigot and a homophobe.”

Our landlord. And yes, she is, but that doesn’t matter,” Eric said, holding up a palm when Kyle opened that lush mouth to argue. “We agreed that we can’t afford to buy a house yet.”

Kyle glared at him again, but his shoulders drooped. “I Googled this, Eric. I swear I know what I’m doing this time.” When Eric arched a dubious eyebrow, Kyle bent to point under the sink. “If it starts leaking? I’m supposed to tighten that valve to shut off the water. No lake.”

Oh, for God’s sake. “Okay,” Eric said on a low drawl. “What are we supposed to do after you shut the water off?”

Kyle’s brow furrowed. His mouth opened, then closed.

Yeah. That’s what he thought. He stepped around the corner of the tiny kitchen table. “So instead of no ice . . .” He slowly stalked Kyle from the table to the counter. “. . . We’ll have no water.”

Kyle tossed an adjustable wrench on the miniscule table, the clang of it breaking the early afternoon like a thunderclap. He retreated a step, his shoulder blades bumping into cabinets. “Stop it.”

Eric smiled. “You don’t want to invest your day off destroying— I mean, installing the icemaker.”

Kyle frowned, his chin jutting.

“All right, that’s not the only thing you want to do today.” When Eric reached Kyle, he kicked Kyle’s sockless feet apart to make room and stepped into the V of his legs. Their groins brushed. He smiled when Kyle’s breath hitched, twined his arms around Kyle’s neck, and leaned in to inhale Kyle’s intoxicating scent—sweat, sawdust, and coffee. “When are you going to stop trying to prove you’re still a man?”

“This isn’t about—”

Eric kissed him.

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